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Tangents: Industrial Makeshift

Aug 10, 2010

by Alison Feldmann handmade and vintage goods


When was the last time you bought something from a vending machine? This mechanical relic enables the most basic of transactions to take place: coin goes in, Devil Dog falls out, chowing down commences. The question is, what series of gassed-up trucks delivered that sugar rush, which global conglomerate’s assembly line pumped out the chocolate-brown ball of of fructose corn syrup, and to what end? Big questions for something being licked off a piece of cellophane, my friends.

Whether it’s a humble snack cake or a low-end knockoff of your favorite pair of kicks, big business looms over the dim remains of mom-and-pop storefronts. Artist Simon Hasan decided to broach the evolution of commerce, craft and industry in his latest installation, Industrial Makeshift, wherein he questions the role of handmade within the modern production system.



But how to make such a point? That’s where the vending machine comes in. Hasan has produced 400 buttery leather bowls, vases and cups using the medieval leather-working technique of Cuir Bouilli, a.k.a. boiled leather, which was once used as a technique to construct scales for armor. His version of Cuir Bouilli involved wrapping thrift store finds and prototypical examples of mass-production in leather, then immersing them in scalding water. The result is a hardened, brand-less relic that appears as though it could have been produced any time in the last 2000 years.


And herein lies the sweet, sweet rub. Hasan enthusiastically touts his “mass-produced hand-crafted one-offs” while making light of the creative process — for, even though it’s handmade using an antiquated technique, it’s still a rip-off (of an economy destroyer), no? Where handmade and mass-produced ends is hard to say, but the work looks good enough to nibble upon.



…And what about that vending machine? All of these pieces were sold for only £3 from a specially rigged machine in Northampton Market Square in England. No Devil Dogs were sold.

[Via Dezeen]

More leather and textural artwork can be found in the Related Items below.

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  • TwinkleStarCrafts

    TwinkleStarCrafts said 5 years ago

    Although vending machines are being used more and more in the corporate world to dispense items ranging from gloves in a hospital to tools in a machine shop, it seems somewhat impersonal to me to use one for hand-crafted items. That is just my opinion, though. The items are quite nice, though!

  • StringsnTings

    StringsnTings said 5 years ago

    What an awesome idea! Really cool pieces..

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    SimpleJoysPaperie said 5 years ago

    very interesting article and leather art!

  • LeafandInk

    LeafandInk said 5 years ago

    Beautifully curated! Etsy opens our eyes to the world around us! Thank you Etsy! We L-O-V-E you all!!! Come be a part of our world at LeafandInk! SUBSCRIBE to our blog soon to feature FREE GIVE AWAYS!!!

  • VintageScraps

    VintageScraps said 5 years ago

    I've seen this before- I love the idea!!

  • rikrak

    rikrak said 5 years ago

    so fantastic! i was just reading about how the toronto public library will be putting book *vending/lending machines* at our busiest transit stations soon, for the ease of commuters! love it! gorgeous pics!

  • beautifulanodyne

    beautifulanodyne said 5 years ago

    Very cool article. Thanks for putting this together.

  • jewellerytreasures

    jewellerytreasures said 5 years ago

    interesting read and clever idea for the vending machine love it!

  • specimen7

    specimen7 said 5 years ago

    I think this is brilliant. I adore mass production "ideas" clashing with art...or is it art making fun of mass production?

  • poplovedesigns

    poplovedesigns said 5 years ago

    Simply amazing. I want to fly to England just to buy one! <3 Andrea

  • BiscottiQueen

    BiscottiQueen said 5 years ago

    There is a company that buys old cigerette vending machines. They then put in small pieces of handmade art and then dispense them as custom artwork by local artists. I actually signed up to work with them one year, they have heavy duty specks to follow and it didn't work out due to packaging issues. Check out their site:

  • funkomavintage

    funkomavintage said 5 years ago

    if something is handmade in a factory, whether the factory is small or large, means the item is factory made. Handmade is made one at a time (or in groups of one at a time)by one or 2 people who contribute to the product. Handcrafted is a handmade item made in a factory setting. People do often confuse the two terms. The delivery system is nearly irrelevant. My items are mostly delivered by corporations...etsy and usps. But what I make is made by me...and not in a tiny factory. If Hasan made each nifty leather object himself, it's handmade.

  • Waterrose

    Waterrose said 5 years ago

    I think in and of itself the art in vending machines makes an artistic statement. Other then that...don't think I'll be buying my art that way...

  • JRoseAtelier

    JRoseAtelier said 5 years ago

    Such an interesting way to show this idea- thank you so much for sharing!

  • uglyyellow

    uglyyellow said 5 years ago

    Love this! It makes me think of the Art-O-Mat...I was kinda obsessed with them at one point. They are retired cigarette vending machines that have been converted to vend art. ♥

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat said 5 years ago

    Wow, i'd put my three quid in the slot for any one of those fantastic items! Love the natural leathery textured selection of picks too! :-)

  • uglyyellow

    uglyyellow said 5 years ago

    Haha....guess I took too long with that one BiscottiQueen!

  • sumshi

    sumshi said 5 years ago

    this is so cool. SO COOL. It just reverses your train of thought whatever it was...a paradox. Iwould love to see this :)

  • bhangtiez

    bhangtiez said 5 years ago

    Amazing....great view on a seemingly simple idea(s)....

  • Blended

    Blended said 5 years ago

    How freaking CLEVER! I see you've already got us all thinking :)

  • GloucesterStreet

    GloucesterStreet said 5 years ago

    What a creative way to get handmade items into the hands of people not aware of them. We all need to think outside the box like this artist.

  • lindaketelhut

    lindaketelhut said 5 years ago

    Clever! Especially as at first glance you wouldn't expect to see something that is sculptural or appears fragile in a vending machine. Interesting how he modified the machine to suit his needs.

  • BeachCoveJewelry

    BeachCoveJewelry said 5 years ago

    That is a really cool idea! I like it!

  • polkadotmagpie

    polkadotmagpie said 5 years ago

    Brilliant! A balance between art and commerce is tough. We gotta eat! Well done, Teen!

  • joyoustreasures

    joyoustreasures said 5 years ago

    Wow, that is so cool! I love it. Looks really clever!

  • glasfaden

    glasfaden said 5 years ago

    Art is to provoke a question, a thought, a discussion - which is nicely done at this point. Thank you for this great article, Alison!

  • PrimaryRedux

    PrimaryRedux said 5 years ago

    This post has touched on so many issues that us makers, artists, designers are dealing with today. I am so glad you came to it from the perspective of an art installation. Through this artwork you have brought up a huge topic here that speaks to the issues of the current state of our commerce, economy, handmade, mass-production, artist, art........ On a side note, I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees a beautiful piece of work and has an inexplicable desire to nibble on it a little.

  • Linelle10

    Linelle10 said 5 years ago

    I like the idea of using something so anti-hand made to spread unconventional design and nonconformity. Brilliant!!!!

  • StudioCherie

    StudioCherie said 5 years ago

    great article. I would have bought one

  • GollyBard

    GollyBard said 5 years ago

    Extraordinary! What a fabulous article!

  • girltuesdayjewelry

    girltuesdayjewelry said 5 years ago

    Beautiful work--never seen boiled leather before! It looks like wood. Reminds me of the Art-O-Mat which I love.

  • JennyMJewels

    JennyMJewels said 5 years ago

    very cool :)

  • ZenAndCoffee

    ZenAndCoffee said 5 years ago

    Simply lovely! This is a great article! Thank you! The vending machine idea is very creative :D ~Wren Arm Warmers & Fingerless Gloves for all seasons & styles! <3

  • beerring

    beerring said 5 years ago


  • leatherandcopper

    leatherandcopper said 5 years ago

    very interesting idea and execution! such beautiful pieces while still making a wonderful statement. also - i have heard of this technique of leather-work before, and it sounds fascinating! maybe if i get up the courage, i can try it one day!

  • dafnadagan

    dafnadagan said 5 years ago

    very impressive :)

  • LuBluDesigns

    LuBluDesigns said 5 years ago

    So interesting. What beautiful work. Thank you for sharing.

  • lilfishstudios

    lilfishstudios said 5 years ago

    Gorgeous work, and I love the conversation that this sort of presentation stirs up. As BiscottiQueen mentioned above, it immediately reminded me of the artomat, but on a larger scale. Thanks for sharing this.

  • VivaGailBeads

    VivaGailBeads said 5 years ago


  • ikabags

    ikabags said 5 years ago

    Gorgeous pics! lOVE LOVE LOVEEEEE !

  • BingoBox

    BingoBox said 5 years ago

    Where mass produced ends and handmade begins IS hard to say! But Etsy is doing it's best to stay Handmade or Re-made. Great article !! Cheers !

  • TheEvesLikeUs

    TheEvesLikeUs said 5 years ago

    Interesting and wonderful artistry.

  • DanceLikeIts1492

    DanceLikeIts1492 said 5 years ago

    What a neat idea! There is/was an old cigarette vending machine filled with miniature artwork at the Chicago Cultural Center. Its uniqueness just begs you to put in a coin!

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 5 years ago

    Leather and Coke bottles - who knew?! Love it.

  • FoundDays

    FoundDays said 5 years ago

    I would love to buy art out of a vending machine.

  • 2TrickPony

    2TrickPony said 5 years ago

    ironic, and thought provoking.

  • kimmchi

    kimmchi said 5 years ago

    wow very cool technique

  • fanciness

    fanciness said 5 years ago

    I am consistently amazed by the level of talent and creativity of etsy sellers! Such brilliant craftsmanship!

  • ffflowers

    ffflowers said 5 years ago

    The pieces are fantastic, and I'd be very happy to buy art from a vending machine at that price. But at a more realistic price I think I would want more of a personal service. Fantastic idea though!

  • TandRHandweaving

    TandRHandweaving said 5 years ago

    Not sure what to think, very interesting take on an age old technique.

  • NorthwestBridal

    NorthwestBridal said 5 years ago

    Great article, lot's to think about there.

  • KettleConfections

    KettleConfections said 5 years ago

    Very thought provoking art installation. This makes you think about how the artist/crafter needs to tackle the issue of convincing the audience to see the value of handmade vs. mass produced when the public may not always be able to distinguish the two. I do see the situation improving as more people re-acquaint themselves with the process of making something tangible, with the trend we're seeing of increased interest in DIY.

  • sparegusink

    sparegusink said 5 years ago

    strange and beautiful art installation piece.

  • lesyeux

    lesyeux said 5 years ago

    dear teenangster, in your picture you resemble the cheshire cat - alice au pays des marvielles. this struck me while purusing this very fine article. well thought and written, i might add.

  • worksofwhimsy

    worksofwhimsy said 5 years ago

    Interesting. Years ago, local artists here converted cigarette vending machines to sell little, one of a kind, cigarette package sized, works of art.

  • designbyjeramie

    designbyjeramie said 5 years ago

    Cool idea and nice juxtaposition.

  • artofjane

    artofjane said 5 years ago

    How cool.

  • MerlotMoon

    MerlotMoon said 5 years ago

    Love it, love it, love it

  • VelveteenHabbit

    VelveteenHabbit said 5 years ago

    Such beautiful talents all of you! Such great texture!! VH

  • leslietsy

    leslietsy said 5 years ago

    Near us, in Tacoma, WA, there's a group that's selling small (I think $5-, but don't quote me) artworks from recycled I think pop machines.

  • stephaniemonroe

    stephaniemonroe said 5 years ago

    Interesting, well written article. Thanks for exercising my brain today! Reminds me of a visual thinking class I took my Sophomore year at SVA. It was taught by Graphic Deisign Department Chair, Richard Wilde. I really learned how to think outside the box. It's all about concept my friends.

  • simplyworn

    simplyworn said 5 years ago

    love this idea...and the leather objects really stand out.

  • EcoChicHandKnits

    EcoChicHandKnits said 5 years ago

    Very interesting...

  • JanCramer

    JanCramer said 5 years ago

    Very thought provoking.

  • themarketintheglen

    themarketintheglen said 5 years ago

    I feel guilty about leather and sometimes even crafting, because I often worry about my footprint and impact on the environment,especially because what I make is not essential to life outside of the aesthetic. I see everything as a trade-off though. The world needs more trees not less, but perhaps I can inspire people through my crafting to preserve old growth and find more efficient ways to make the supplies I need. It's a struggle to be useful, beautiful, affordable and eco-friendly.

  • breadandroses2

    breadandroses2 said 5 years ago

    Well done. Love the juxtaposition of organic, hand form leather vs. impersonal vending machinery w/ all its connotations.

  • UnderGlass

    UnderGlass said 5 years ago

    very cool if you ask me

  • naomicayne

    naomicayne said 5 years ago

    Very nifty. Reminds me of the Art-O-Mat - old cigarette machines converted into art vending machines. They had one in Richmond when I lived there, now I need to find out where they are - I am craving some art from a vending machine!!

  • 111collagedesign

    111collagedesign said 5 years ago

    How cool!

  • patspottery

    patspottery said 5 years ago

    VERY neat!!

  • pasin

    pasin said 5 years ago

    Very interesting , very cool, love them all.

  • archaicdesign

    archaicdesign said 5 years ago

    I love it! absolutely wonderful!

  • ElizabethPawle

    ElizabethPawle said 5 years ago

    Such amazing pieces! I had no idea leather was so versatile, this was such an interesting article.

  • SunnyDayVintage

    SunnyDayVintage said 5 years ago

    Art and commerce. Industry and handcraft. Man and machine. Opposite but integrated.

  • TheOmegaWorkshop

    TheOmegaWorkshop said 5 years ago

    Wow! How unique! Truly inspiring and a great read!

  • cherryblossomcloset

    cherryblossomcloset said 5 years ago

    Wonderful article. The vending machine display would be a great way to show your work. It would certainly have people looking.

  • threepeats

    threepeats said 5 years ago

    Wow! And I thought the macaroni and cheese from the Horn and Hardart automat was classic!

  • buttonsbyrobin

    buttonsbyrobin said 5 years ago

    Wow. What a wonderful collection of unique items! Robin

  • MJSGems

    MJSGems said 5 years ago

    Just when I think I've seen it all! very cool art!

  • BeaumontStudio

    BeaumontStudio said 5 years ago

    Superb article!

  • NewDominionBlues

    NewDominionBlues said 5 years ago

    The irony is delicious! :)

  • VeronicaRStudio

    VeronicaRStudio said 5 years ago

    While I love the leather pieces, I don't like the impersonal tone business is getting. I am one of those that truly misses mom and pop shops, as I see them dissapear every day in my own city.

  • shopgoodgrace

    shopgoodgrace said 5 years ago

    Fascinating article. (I had never heard of boiling leather!?) I just read a NYT piece about how consumers are changing their buying habits, experiences vs things, etc... This is a unique spin on consumerism/handmade/mass-produced. I would have loved to have stumbled upon that unique vending machine -- only £3 a piece?!

  • shopgoodgrace

    shopgoodgrace said 5 years ago

    P.S. Am I seeing a bit of "spam" in the comments above? I've noticed it from the same user in multiple Etsy/Storque posts...

  • KettleConfections

    KettleConfections said 5 years ago

    shopgoodgrace - which article in the times was this - would be great if you can share the link. Thanks!

  • AndisAccessories

    AndisAccessories said 5 years ago

    Interesting article. Beautiful pieces in the collection. I am afraid that the little craftsman secluded in his studio may not desire to sell his wares in such a fashion. But clever idea none-the-less.

  • paedrin

    paedrin said 5 years ago

    impressive and might be by soon,love the egg

  • ArtisticIntentions

    ArtisticIntentions said 5 years ago

    Very interesting! Love those vases - really cool!!

  • ZenAndCoffee

    ZenAndCoffee said 5 years ago

    I had to come back and re-read this article. It blows my mind that those are made of leather. It makes me really wish we had more things like this around. Truly fascinating & thought provoking! ~Wren Arm Warmers & Fingerless Gloves for all seasons & styles! <3

  • anadiazarte

    anadiazarte said 5 years ago

    The vases are lovely, great article.

  • ktjdesign

    ktjdesign said 5 years ago

    What a neat way to put the handmade "underground" (in a sense) in a place where all different sorts of people will come in contact with it - especially those who would not normally seek them out.

  • gingerandgems

    gingerandgems said 5 years ago

    I absolutely love the idea of art in vending machines, why not? We can get books, dvd rentals, stickers, so why not art!! Lovely pictures and thought provoking ideas. Larissa

  • foxpots

    foxpots said 5 years ago

    I love the vending machine idea! I have more difficulty accepting a mass-produced item that has been boiled as handmade.

  • BPyarns

    BPyarns said 5 years ago

    Lovely items, interesting concept!

  • AnRocaid

    AnRocaid said 5 years ago

    Beautiful stuff! Just amazing!

  • iktomi

    iktomi said 5 years ago

    One of the most interesting ideas I've seen in some time

  • santosleather

    santosleather said 5 years ago

    WOW ! So so pretty !

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